News Release

Former U.N. Envoy Says Yemen Political Deal was Close Before Saudi Airstrikes Began


The New York Times reports: “Warplanes of the Saudi-led military coalition bombed targets in the Yemeni capital on Sunday for the first time since Saudi officials said they were shifting the focus of their campaign against a Yemeni rebel group toward political negotiations and humanitarian relief.”

JOE LAURIA, joelauria at
Lauria is United Nations correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. He just co-wrote the piece “Former U.N. Envoy Says Yemen Political Deal was Close Before Saudi Airstrikes Began,” which states: “Yemen’s warring political factions were on the verge of a power-sharing deal when Saudi-led airstrikes began a month ago, derailing the negotiations, the United Nations envoy who mediated the talks said.

“Jamal Benomar, who spearheaded the negotiations until he resigned last week, told the Wall Street Journal the Saudi bombing campaign against Iran-linked Houthi rebels has hardened positions on a key point — the composition of an executive body to lead Yemen’s stalled transition. This will complicate new attempts to reach a solution, he said.

“’When this campaign started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power-sharing with all sides, including the Houthis,’ said Mr. Benomar, a Moroccan diplomat.

“Mr. Benomar is scheduled to address the U.N. Security Council behind closed doors on Monday and report on the suspended political talks.”